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Minister for the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2001-2004

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP



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Joint Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Warren Truss

10 June 2004

$5.6 million for innovative environmental work

Ten innovative and ground-breaking environmental projects will receive $5.6 million in Australian Government funding over the next three years to bring significant improvements to natural resource management, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation for Australia.

The funding - from the Natural Heritage Trust's $10 million National Competitive Component - was announced today by Australian Government Ministers for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss.

Visiting Alice Springs today, Dr Kemp said the National Competitive Component focused on multi-year projects that were new, innovative or pilot activities with a national approach to effectively improving natural resource management.

"These projects are high-priority, carefully-targeted investments that break new ground for natural resource management," he said.

"For example, $2.9 million will help fund a national River Recovery program which will promote a regional approach to restoring river health. This project, driven by Greening Australia in close partnership with regional communities, will provide regions with access to the best knowledge and innovations in river restoration, protection and management.

" In the Northern Territory, the Landcare Council will be actively involved in identifying a priority river for protection and management under the program. The next step is to involve Northern Territorians in restoring this important river. "

Dr Kemp said Australia had more than 60,000 kilometres of rivers and streams - more than one third of these were in urgent need of repair.

"As part of the River Recovery Program, a science panel will guide the development of the program and ensure it targets the highest ecological priorities," he said. "Also, a business leaders roundtable will develop investment frameworks to catalyse corporate and philanthropic investment and through regional bodies, partnerships will be formed with local communities."

Mr Truss said weed control would also be addressed with $138,000 awarded to the Cooperative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management based in Adelaide over three years to build a national, community-based model for preventing new weed incursions.

"Weeds are agriculture's number one enemy and the CRC project will help build a better weed incursion detection capability in regional Australia. It will harness and foster existing community interest and skills in dealing with invasive plants such as Lantana and Serrated Tussock," Mr Truss said.

Mr Truss said a visionary project by the University of Queensland would also receive $500,000 over three years to conserve valuable watering points in Australia's rangelands.

"This project will help develop a means of controlling access of large animals - such as kangaroos, emus, sheep, pigs, goats and horses - to watering points in the Australian rangelands where the only consistently available surface water is delivered from underground sources," he said.

"It will help develop technology that can identify and discriminate between all large animals, as well as build enclosures that will allow access to watering points via a laneway and a gateway system.

" University of Sydney will receive $245,849 over three years to manage salinity in the northern Murray Darling. This will be done by gathering data on the type of land-use, geology, drainage, climate and topography where salinity occurs to determine if and when these conditions occur elsewhere. This data will also be useful in developing measures to mitigate salinity and will be available on the Internet, research manuscripts and plain-English material."

Dr Kemp said a further $139,200 over three years would help protect culturally-significant native flora and fauna in South Australia's northern Flinders Ranges , an issue which is of national concern.

"This project is important to the cultural well-being of the Adnyamathanha people in particular, and indigenous people generally, and could be used as a case study for indigenous groups," he said.

"It will involve a workshop to exchange information on traditional food in its past and present location, field trips to map endangered flora and fauna, and a replanting strategy.

"Threatened Species will also receive support with $200,000 going to the World Wide Fund for Nature to help identify and address gaps in community-based threatened species conservation work in priority regions."

Funding of up to $10 million has been set aside over three years for the National Competitive Component .

The Australian Government will invite applications for a second round of funding under the National Competitive Component later this year.

For further information:

A full list of National Competitive Component projects is attached.

Natural Heritage Trust National Competitive Component Projects

Project Description Funding 2004-05 to 2006-07
Natural Heritage Trust Community Spirit.
Conservation Volunteers Australia
Contact: Karen Dimmock
(03) 5333 1483
To undertake a pilot to link volunteers to NRM community groups, to equip volunteers to be more effective by providing training, and help groups to manage new and existing volunteers better by establishing a benchmark for NRM community groups through training, accreditation and on-going support. $250,000
Control of watering point access using machine vision classification of animals.
University of Queensland
Contact: Dr Peter Murray
(07) 5460 1256
Development of a machine vision technology that can identify and discriminate between all large vertebrate species in the Australian rangelands, development of enclosures that allow uninhibited access by animals to watering points via a laneway, and a gateway system that allows animals to be trapped, to have access or to be excluded from a resource. $500,000
Providing Regional NRM with improved aquatic health risk assessment and monitoring tools, the nationally significant indicator - dissolved oxygen.
Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research
Contact: Damien Burrows
(07) 4781 4262
To identify the risks to the freshwater ecosystems of Australia, of low dissolved oxygen, to develop water guidelines and targets, and risk assessment and monitoring procedures, that can be directly incorporated into regional plans and condition assessment programs developed by regional bodies. $474,000

Adnyamai in the Northern Flinders Ranges and Adnyamathanha survey of endangered plants and animals.
Yura Language Consultative Group
Contact: Sally Clark
(08) 8270 2651

To establish discussion among Adnyamathanha about caring for plants and animals of cultural and environmental significance in the northern Flinders Ranges. It will also explore culturally appropriate ways that are widely recognised and respectful of Adnyamathanha values and beliefs.


Web-GIS development for natural resource management in the northern Murray-Darling Basin.
The University of Sydney, Australian Cotton Cooperative Research Centre
Contact: Dr John Triantafilis
(02) 9351 2398
To generate biophysical data related to agronomy, geology, hydrology, climate and topography, store it in a Geographic Information System, and study the interaction between biophysical data layers to determine if and when salinity occurs. $245,849
Managing impacts of groundwater use on river flows. Sinclair Knight Merz
Contact: Dr Richard Evans
(03) 9248 3369
To prevent the unacceptable interference between surface water and groundwater by developing appropriate policy, management framework and management practices. $197,000
Building a national, community-based model for preventing new weed incursions.
Cooperative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management
Contact: Peter Martin
(08) 8303 6693
To help build a better incursion detection capability in regional Australia through harnessing and fostering community interest and skills in invasive plants, and assisting herbaria to play a supporting role. $138,000
River Recovery - a national program supporting regional investment in restoring river health.
Greening Australia
Contact: Carl Binning
(02) 6281 8585
To ensure regional communities have access to the best knowledge and innovations in river restoration, protection and management, identify and test five innovations in land management that protect rivers, and secure $2 million through a business leaders roundtable. $2,907, 000
National Coastcare Promotion and sponsorship marketing for the Coastcare Group Movement.
Landcare Australia
Contact: Brian Scarsbrick
(02) 9412 1040
To nurture and encourage the Coastcare movement to undertake volunteer natural resource management projects in the coastal zone by promoting and securing corporate funding for on-ground projects and educational campaigns. $590,000
Identifying and addressing national gaps in community based threatened species conservation in priority regions.
World Wildlife Fund for Nature, Australia
Contact: Dr Nicola Marcus
(02) 9281 5515
To build the Threatened Species Network's strength of community capacity-building by adding an additional strategic component, specifically, a focus on national gaps in community conservation activity, to its current operations. $200,000
TOTAL   $5,641,049
Commonwealth of Australia